Teaching is a stressful job. Teaching a field ecology course, when you are stuck with your students 24/7 in a sometimes arduous conditions, can be extremely stressful.
So, when the other TA grabbed my hand one day after arguing with a student who was sick of rice and beans (for breakfast, lunch and dinner) and hissed in my ear, “Let’s get out of here!”, I went. And gladly.
Giggling, she and I escaped from the drama of the students and ran off into the rain forest. Checking to make sure no one was following, we followed a branch of the river inland, through a crack in a cliff face so narrow that we had to squeeze in sideways.
Walls of rock surrounded us on all sides, and there was just a crack of sky visible directly above. At the base of a small, pleasantly noisy, waterfall, there was a quiet pool of water. She and I stripped down to our swimming suits and jumped in.
It was delightfully cold, refreshing after the humidity of the jungle, and little shrimp scuttled over exposed skin, tickling us with delicate feathery appendages.
We sat on opposite sides of the pool and she vented about various annoyances and aggravations that had set her off, while I smiled and nodded happily. I was happy that she had included me; I felt special to be on a secret adventure in a hidden ravine.
But just when we were settled and I was most content, something gave me a vary hard pinch in the rear.
“WHOOP!” I shouted, leaping off the underwater ledge I was sitting on and sliding into the deep pool. Treading water and massaging my behind, I searched for the source of the pinch, but the ledge was completely clear. She and I shrugged and I pulled myself back onto the ledge.
But it was no sooner had we started chatting again that I got another frightful pinch. I jumped up again and shouted something unrepeatable, fumbling behind me on the rock to catch the perpetrator.
A crayfish wiggled in my fingers, pinched me hard on the thumb, and then scuttled off into the murk. I scowled at it and attempted to return to my conversation.
But it was ill-fated! The crayfish would not stop pinching me and the other TA could not stop laughing at my despair.
*Yes, I realize that is misspelled.